The Link Between Flossing and Heart Health

Dec 13, 2023
The Link Between Flossing and Heart Health
Do you remember the last time you flossed? If you’ve been skipping this daily task, you could be putting yourself at risk for numerous problems — and not just your teeth. Keep reading to learn how this habit protects your oral and overall health.

If you’ve ever been to the dentist, you’ve likely heard about the importance of flossing. Despite those reminders, people rarely tackle this habit on a daily basis. And, unfortunately, that decision can jeopardize their gums, teeth, and heart.

Dr. Robert A. Scherrer, DMD, knows that life is busy and that there are probably many tasks you’d rather tackle every day. However, taking a few minutes to floss can significantly reduce your chances of heart problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack.

In this blog, Dr. Scherrer at Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood explains the link between flossing and heart health.

Flossing and your body

We know what you’re thinking — what does oral hygiene have to do with the rest of your body? The answer is actually quite simple: they’re all connected.

It’s easy to think of your mouth as its own separate island. However, bacteria in this area can travel freely throughout your entire system by way of your bloodstream. This can trigger widespread infection and inflammation in delicate areas like blood vessels and heart valves.

Now, it’s impossible to avoid bacteria in the mouth entirely since it’s naturally home to colonies of microbes. Most of these tiny organisms are completely harmless, and many are even helpful. But some can also cause problems, like periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay.

When this “bad” bacteria goes unchecked in the mouth, it’s no secret that oral health issues arise, including tooth and bone loss. But it also increases the amount that enters your bloodstream, putting your heart health at risk at the same time.

How flossing can help

Now for the good news. You can protect your entire body by keeping your mouth clean and healthy. And it just involves taking a few minutes to floss each day.

It’s true that nothing beats brushing for removing food particles and sticky plaque from your teeth, gums, and tongue. However, those bristles can’t get in all the little nooks and crannies in your mouth. That’s where floss comes in.

Those thin strands of dental floss clear the hard-to-reach spaces between teeth and along the gumline, clearing plaque and bacteria before it can harden into stubborn tartar buildup. When added to your daily oral hygiene regimen, you reduce your chances of plaque buildup and gum disease.

And don’t worry; you can turn to other flossing options that offer similar results if you simply can’t manage dental floss, like water flossers.

Whether you dislike traditional floss in general or struggle with the tool itself, Dr. Scherrer can offer personalized guidance on the best method to keep your mouth clean and healthy moving forward, like water flossing devices.

In addition to brushing and flossing each day, it’s important to watch for signs of a problem so you can take action before they progress.

Recognizing the signs of a problem

Fortunately, there are ways to detect a potential issue before compromising your oral and overall health.

First, take an honest look at your oral hygiene. Do you brush twice a day? Floss daily — or ever? Schedule regular dental cleanings? Next, assess your teeth and gums in the mirror. 

Signs of a problem often include:

  • Tender, red, or swollen gums
  • Gums that recede from the teeth
  • Gums that bleed from brushing, flossing, or hard food
  • Teeth that seem loose or separating
  • Chronic bad breath

If you notice any of these issues, don’t wait to schedule a dental visit.

Dr. Scherrer has over 35 years of experience diagnosing and treating dental issues. After he performs a comprehensive exam, he can outline the best course of treatment to get your oral health back on track to protect your heart moving forward.

Could your oral health be endangering your heart? Contact Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood by phone or online today to schedule a consultation with Robert A. Scherrer, DMD, in Ridgewood, New Jersey.